Slightly quirky, sporty hatch with amazing handling and great performance
I have only had this car for just over a month. It is my first brand new car, but not my first BMW. I have previously owned two 5 series diesels.
My 118d ES is the 'poverty' model (nobody buys the actual base model) with just alloy wheels and manual air conditioning to add to the base spec. In reality though, this is pretty much all you need, everything works well.
The interior layout is great and everything is well made. It doesn't have the luxury feeling of a 5-series, but certainly is miles better than the majority of the competition. Unlike another review there are absolutely no squeaks or rattles the car is solid. The car comes with a quite comprehensive diagnostics system - all levels (including tyres) are checked automatically. The keyless start is quite a novelty and individual settings can be stored in the key when there is more than one driver. The automatic door locking when you exceed about 15mph is a nice touch.
The handling is astonishing - it just hangs on without any fuss at all. The de-tuned 120bhp diesel in the 118d is actually quite fast. Not ridiculously so, but certainly fun to drive. I am getting around 46 miles per gallon, which is nice. You do know the engine is a diesel at idle though, but otherwise an extremely impressive drive. The run flat tyres make for a slightly harsh drive on rough roads.
For those who like their radio, avoid the basic model - it is only just adequate. The better professional model features sub-woofers under the seats and it makes quite a difference.
The car is clearly expensive when you add on the options which is easy to do. The basic one I have (in black so it matches the black plastic) is a great car, but just misses feeling special as it is quite spartan. We got a great deal on the warranty and servicing which swung it for us - it actually worked out cheaper than a used 118d, and I'm hoping the residuals will be good! The exterior styling is something you'll love or hate. The back seat leg-room is limited and the boot is not huge. The car is what it is - a sporty hatch for two people who don't visit Ikea that much!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th October, 2005